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Post Elections and Remembrance
Created by John Eipper on 11/10/18 5:54 PM

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Elections and Remembrance (David Duggan, USA, 11/10/18 5:54 pm)

Elections and Remembrance

Today is the 243rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, the only branch of the armed services in continued existence since before the Revolutionary War. It is also the eve of the 100th remembrance of the armistice which ended the war to end all wars, but which ended up as simply a 20-year truce. The failure totally to defeat the enemy has metaphorical applications to the outcome of this year's US election in which the expected national blue wave became a localized puddle. In the Middle West, relatively safe from the waves of ideology which engulf the coasts, we saw modest change in the political landscape, but which sadly does not bode well for those who expect goodies coming from Washington.

In Illinois, one-term governor and Dartmouth alum, Bruce Rauner (he donated the "rare book collection" at the College on the Hill) lost horrifically (he didn't clear 40% of the vote) to the richest governor in American history, JB Pritzker, scion of the Hyatt hotel fortune. Pritzker put $170 million of his own money (he paid only $100 million for the naming rights to Northwestern Law School, my other alma mater) into the race, which works out to about $44 per vote in the general election (I would have rather had the money). Collectively those two expenditures amount to less than 10 percent of his $3.2 billion fortune, which I guess proves that the modern "tithe" can be used to put your name on buildings and on signs welcoming people to the state. But since the increased taxes that those who remain in the Land of Lincoln will be paying to fund unsustainable pension obligations are driving out the middle class, there will be few people seeing those signs at the border. Rauner joins a succession of one-term governors of the nation's most bankrupt state: convicted felon George Ryan, convicted felon Rod Blagojevich (he was impeached before finishing his 2d term) and so-far unconvicted Pat Quinn (who took over Blagojevich's seat, then won a term on his own).

Chicago was always a lost cause for Republicans but the Democrats also won two suburban seats that had been Republican from time immemorial. Sean Casten, who likened Trump to Osama Bin Laden, beat Glen Ellynite 10-termer Peter Roskam in the district once held by Henry Hyde. And Lauren Underwood beat Randy Hultgren in the seat once occupied by convicted money launderer Dennis Hastert (not sure if the seat had been scrubbed down with Lysol after he retired). There is some irony here: pre-existing conditions were the issue-du-jour in these parts, and Underwood, trained as a nurse but never having attended to any patient, claimed that she had one and flogged it mercilessly. Hultgren, whose family owns a funeral home, had no answer to that onslaught, perhaps believing that those with pre-existing conditions were better candidates for his back-up job.

The upshot is that Republicans have no congressional seats north of I-80, which largely bisects the state, and that means that no infra-structure projects will be coming anytime soon. Bad news for anyone traveling through O'Hare, or using the tollways or the rail or water-transportation systems which made Chicago the Midwestern metropolis. Equally significantly, there is no Republican representative from any city of 500,000 or more in the United States north of the Mason-Dixon line (Republican Lamar Smith represents a portion of San Antonio, and Republican John Culberson represents a portion of inside-the-beltway Houston). Bad news for any infra-structure projects in any of the blue states that went for Trump in 2016. No dope, Trump knows that dollars spent in Milwaukee, Detroit or Cleveland are more likely to reap electoral rewards than those spent in Chicago.

Maybe there is hope in our electoral system: Illinois has an elected judiciary which must stand for "retention" after 6 years on the bench. Cook County voters ousted a judge who while a prosecutor had used perjured testimony to gain a murder conviction; this was the first time a judge had not been retained in 30 years. I always vote "no" on all judges as, no matter how decent they may be, they are part of a corrupt and evil system. But in fields that really matter, both Northwestern and the Bears (football) are vying for first place in their respective divisions, and the Black Hawks (3-time Stanley Cup champions in this decade), and the Bulls (6-time NBA champions more than 20 years ago), are near the bottom of their divisions. Weathermen are predicting a more-severe than average winter. I wonder why.

JE comments:  I always relish your Illinois vignettes, David.  To buy the naming rights on the "Welcome to the Land of Lincoln" signs:  you phrased it perfectly.

I fear you may be right about the coming winter.  At WAIS HQ we had snow both yesterday and today.  It's a bit early for that.

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